Bryce Harper reaches record arbitration deal for 2018

We haven’t been writing about Bryce Harper a whole lot. He’s having an incredible season. Today was a special day in his life and career.

Harper reached a $21.625 million ‘extension’ this afternoon seemingly out of nowhere. Buster Olney speculated that just *maybe* Bryce Harper will choose comfort and a record deal in Washington (as he should) instead of chasing every penny and signing with Philadelphia or New York after 2018 wraps up.

Then hours later, Harper hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th to beat those very Phillies. He looks as dominating as he’s ever looked. Batting title, home run title, triple crown, MVP; it’s all still within striking distance for Harper. And the Nats are probably going to win a playoff series this year (gut feeling).

Some teammates noted last year that Harper spent more time in the clubhouse, and wondered if it increasingly became a haven for him — a place where he could go about his day most comfortably, without having to worry about being the caged creature in the zoo.

The timing of his $21.625 million extension for the 2018 season with the Washington Nationals, which was announced Saturday, is interesting and perhaps a sign that Harper isn’t necessarily devoted to the idea of chasing the biggest deal from the biggest bidder through free agency. And look, the Phillies probably would love to have him. He would be perfect for the Yankees — and for Yankee Stadium, with its short right-field porch.

But if Harper – who I named my first born after – ends up re-signing in Washington; he’ll be written about more on this blog than any player in the league. It’s just hard to love the guy when you feel like he’s leaving for the highest bid rather than making good on his word to spend his career in Washington like a Derek Jeter did in the Bronx or Cal Ripken (a comparison he used in the past when he gave his word) did in Baltimore.

It would be good for baseball. And we will draw a line in the sand depending on what he does. Hopefully this act of good will by Washington was a sign of things to come.